Stress monitoring of ambulance personnel during work and leisure time
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Objectives: The aim of the present study was to assess physiological and subjective stress markers during a 24-h ambulance work shift and during the next two work-free days, and relate these parameters to self-reported health complaints. Methods: Twenty-six ambulance personnel were followed during a 24-h work shift and during the next two work-free days with electrocardiogram, cortisol assessments and diary notes. The ambulance personnel also performed tests of autonomic reactivity before and at the end of the work shift. The subjects were categorized into two groups according to their number of health complaints. Results: In general, stress markers did not show differences between the work shift and leisure time. However, a modest deviation in heart rate variability pattern and higher morning cortisol values during work in comparison with work-free days were observed in personnel with many health complaints. Conclusions: Subjective and physiological characteristics of ambulance personnel did not indicate distinctive stress during the 24-h work shift. Relationships between frequent health complaints and specific work-related factors require further prospective studies.
KeywordsStress–energy questionnaire Heart rate variability Cortisol Worry Psychological demands
Authors wish to thank Monica Edström and Kerstin Nilsson for participation in data acquisition. Special thanks are given to Albert Crenshaw for skilled language revision.
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